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Hodder & Stoughton

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Hodder & Stoughton
Parent companyHachette
Founded1868; 156 years ago (1868)
  • Matthew Henry Hodder
  • Thomas Wilberforce Stoughton
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationLondon, England
ImprintsHodder & Stoughton, Coronet, Hodder Faith, John Murray, Mulholland, Quercus, Saltyard, Sceptre, Two Roads
Official websitehodder.co.uk

Hodder & Stoughton is a British publishing house, now an imprint of Hachette.[1]


Early history[edit]

Matthew Hodder
Thomas Wilberforce Stoughton

The firm has its origins in the 1840s, with Matthew Hodder's employment, aged 14, with Messrs Jackson and Walford, the official publisher for the Congregational Union. In 1861 the firm became Jackson, Walford and Hodder; but in 1868 Jackson and Walford retired, and Thomas Wilberforce Stoughton joined the firm, creating Hodder & Stoughton.[1]

Hodder & Stoughton published both religious and secular works, and its religious list contained some progressive titles. These included George Adam Smith's Isaiah for its Expositor’s Bible series, which was one of the earliest texts to identify multiple authorship in the Book of Isaiah. There was also a sympathetic Life of St Francis by Paul Sabatier, a French Protestant pastor. Matthew Hodder made frequent visits to North America, meeting with the Moody Press and making links with Scribners and Fleming H. Revell.

The secular list only gradually accepted fiction, and it was still subject to "moral censorship" in the early part of the 20th century. Matthew Hodder was doubtful about the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and the company refused Michael Arlen's The Green Hat, a novel published by Collins in 1924. In 1922, Hodder and Stoughton published an edition of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

The 1920s brought an explosion of commercial fiction at keen prices – Hodder's "Yellow Jackets" series were the precursors of the first paperbacks, and included bestsellers from John Buchan, Edgar Wallace, Dornford Yates and Sapper's Bulldog Drummond.[1] In 1928, the company became the exclusive British hardback publisher of Leslie Charteris's adventure novel series, The Saint, publishing all 50 UK first editions of the series until 1983. In this decade they also took over ownership of the medical journal The Lancet.

Hodder & Stoughton were also the originators of the Teach Yourself line of self-instruction books, which are still published through Hodder Headline's educational division. As the company expanded at home and overseas, Hodder & Stoughton's list swelled to include the real-life adventures in Peary's North Pole and several works by Winston Churchill.

During the war, Ralph Hodder Williams set up the Brockhampton Book Co. to sell off overstocks of theological works. The manager, Ernest Roker, had an interest in children's books and managed to persuade author Enid Blyton to write a series of books for them about four children and a dog. In 1942, the Famous Five series was born with Five on a Treasure Island. In 1962, Brockhampton took over the children's writer Elinor Lyon, whose novels the parent company had introduced in 1948.[citation needed]

Hodder & Stoughton also published the Biggles books by Captain W. E. Johns, after he moved publishers from the Oxford University Press during the Second World War. Hodder & Stoughton published their first original Biggles book in 1942 with Biggles Sweeps the Desert around September/October of that year (they had previously published a reprint of Biggles Flies East in May 1942) and the Brockhampton Press published Johns' Gimlet books from 1947. From 1953, Brockhampton Press would also publish Biggles books, alternating with Hodder & Stoughton and Captain W. E. Johns remained with them until his death in 1968, with the last Hodder & Stoughton Biggles book appearing in August 1965 and the last Brockhampton Press Biggles book appearing in July 1970. Hodder & Stoughton also published some of Johns' Worrals books. Hodder & Stoughton eventually published 35 Biggles first editions and Brockhampton Press published a further 29 Biggles first editions.[2]

Post-war years[edit]

In 1953 they published Sir John Hunt's successful The Ascent of Everest, and began their long association with thriller writer John Creasey. In the 1970s, they brought the Knight and Coronet imprints into common use. The latter is particularly memorable for David Niven's much-celebrated autobiography The Moon's a Balloon.

In the 1960s the Hodder and Stoughton fiction list broadened to include many quality commercial authors, including Mary Stewart whose works included Madam, Will You Talk? and sold millions of copies worldwide. The non-fiction publishing included Anthony Sampson's era-defining The Anatomy of Britain in 1962. Another notable title in the children's sphere was the 1969 Brockhampton Press publication of Asterix the Gaul by Goscinny and Uderzo.

In 1974, John le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was published to much critical acclaim, earning him a Literary Guild Choice.[3] The following year, previous employee John Attenborough published A Living Memory of Hodder. In 1981, the company acquired the New English Library, an imprint created by the American Times Mirror Company that published works from several genres including fantasy, science fiction and suspense and included books by James Herbert and Stephen King.

In 1986, Hodder & Stoughton introduced Sceptre as a literary imprint to sit alongside mass-market imprints Coronet and NEL. Originally publishing in paperback only, early books on the Sceptre list included Thomas Keneally’s Schindler's Ark which had won the Booker Prize in 1982. Hodder & Stoughton also won the Booker Prize in 1985 with the publication of Keri Hulme’s The Bone People,[4] originally acquired from its New Zealand office.

Other notable books on the Hodder & Stoughton list in this decade include Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers, Elizabeth George’s A Great Deliverance and the first novel in Jean M. Auel’s prehistoric fiction series Earth’s Children® The Clan of the Cave Bear, which was an international success and the series, completed with the publication of The Land of Painted Caves in 2011, has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide.

The Lancet was sold to Elsevier in 1991.[5] In 1993, Headline bought Hodder & Stoughton and the company became a division of Hodder Headline Ltd.[6] In 1997 Sceptre published Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain and the following year Hodder & Stoughton released Sir Alex Ferguson’s much-lauded autobiography Managing My Life.[3]

In 1999, Hodder Headline was acquired by W H Smith. Also in 1999, Hodder acquired the children's publisher Wayland Publishers from Wolters Kluwer.[7]

21st century[edit]

In 2002 Hodder Headline Ltd acquired John Murray and two years later Hodder Headline was bought by Hachette Livre, which already owned British publishers Orion and Octopus. When Hachette also acquired Time Warner Book Group (now Little, Brown) it became the UK’s lead publisher. The Hodder & Stoughton fiction list is now home to John Connolly, Jeffery Deaver, John Grisham, Sophie Hannah, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Peter Robinson and Robyn Young. The 2009 publication of David NichollsOne Day heralded another international success. David wrote the screenplay for the 2011 film adaptation, directed by Lone Scherfig and the book has sold more than two million copies worldwide.

On 7 July 2010 they released Stephen King's Under the Dome with four cover versions.[8]

In 2014, Hodder acquired the independent publisher Quercus.[9]


Book series[edit]

  • The "Biggles" Books[17]
  • The Christian Evidence Society's Lectures[18]
  • Days With the Poets (At Least 19 titles - Mostly written by Mary Clarissa May Byron under various pseudonyms)
  • Expositor's Bible
  • The Famous Five[19]
  • Hodder & Stoughton Christian Classics
  • Hodder & Stoughton Crown Octavo[20]
  • Hodder & Stoughton Demy Octavo
  • Hodder & Stoughton Black Jackets [21]
  • Hodder & Stoughton 2/- Yellow Jackets[22]
  • Hodder & Stoughton 9d Yellow Jackets
  • Hodder & Stoughton Yellow Jacket Service Editions[23]
  • The King's England[24]
  • A New Philosophical and Theological Library[25]
  • The Saint[26]
  • Teach Yourself Books[27]
  • The "Worrals" Books[17]

Notable publications[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c >H&S - About Us - Hachette UK, hodder.co.uk. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  2. ^ Information about the "Numbering" Systems of the Biggles Books, biggles.info. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  3. ^ a b Frean, Alexandra (4 June 1993). "Headline deal rescues Hodder". The Times (of London). ProQuest 317991504.
  4. ^ "Philip Attenborough". Independent.co.uk. April 2009.
  5. ^ SNODDY, RAYMOND (24 October 1991). "The Lancet is sold to Elsevier". Financial Times (London,England).
  6. ^ "Hodder agrees to 49m pounds bid: Takeover by Headline will mean a". The Independent. 4 June 1993. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Letter from London". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  8. ^ Four Covers for Under the Dome's UK Paperback Release.
  9. ^ Hodder buys Quercus
  10. ^ Publisher: Firefly / Hodder & Stoughton (Australia), isfdb.org. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  11. ^ Nicholas Clee, "The Bookseller", The Guardian, 25 September 2004. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  12. ^ "Book & Print in New Zealand: A Guide to Print Culture in Aotearoa - History". New Zealand Electronic Text Centre. Victoria University of Wellington. 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  13. ^ Recreation Books, enidblytonsociety.co.uk. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  14. ^ Leslie Charteris - The Saint & the People Importers, Hodder Paperbacks, 1971, richarddalbyslibrary.com. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  15. ^ Publisher: Knight Books, isfdb.org. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  16. ^ About Us - Imprints, hodder.co.uk. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  17. ^ a b Comrades in Arms, wejohns.com. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  18. ^ A Catalogue of Works Published by Hodder & Stoughton, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1874, pp. 4-5. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  19. ^ The Famous Five by Enid Blyton, enidblytonsociety.co.uk. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  20. ^ Hodder & Stoughton Crown Octavo, satiche.org.uk. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  21. ^ Black Jacket Books, Series of Series, Retrieved 25 November 2023.
  22. ^ Hodder & Stoughton 2/- Yellow Jackets, satiche.org.uk. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  23. ^ Hodder & Stoughton Yellow Jackets Service Editions, satiche.org.uk. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  24. ^ The King's England (Hodder & Stoughton; etc.) - Book Series List, publishinghistory.com. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  25. ^ A Catalogue of Works Published by Hodder & Stoughton, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1874, p. 2. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  26. ^ Bibliography of The Saint by Leslie Charteris, saint.org. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  27. ^ Teach Yourself (English Universities Press; Hodder & Stoughton; Teach Yourself Books) - Book Series List, publishinghistory.com. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  28. ^ Le Bas, Hedley (ed.). The Lord Kitchener Memorial Book. Hodder & Stoughton.

Further reading[edit]

  • Attenborough, John (1975) A Living Memory: Hodder and Stoughton 1868-1975, London: Hodder and Stoughton
  • Bennett, Bryan & Hamilton, Anthony (1990) Edward Arnold: 100 Years of Publishing. Illustrated with black and white plates, including a frontispiece of Edward Arnold London: Edward Arnold (A Division of Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN 0-340-54109-1

External links[edit]